Welcome to NY Bee Wellness, your source for maintaining healthy honey bee colonies

an educational nonprofit program to teach beekeepers honey bee disease recognition & to promote honey bee health

Mite Check Techniques

Equipment for Sugar Roll:

1) White basin

2) Wide mouth quart mason jar with #8 metal screening

3) 1/2 cup measuring cup

4) Tablespoon measure

5) powdered confectioners sugar

6) spray bottle with water

7) paper plate

8) paper & pencil (or sharpie) for record keeping


  NY Bee Wellness Workshops * MITE Checks

Taking a sample:

  • take a brood or pollen frame full of bees (check for queen!) and shake into a box or bucket
  • use ½ cup measure to scoop up bees (~300)
  • Check monthly starting in April; in August start checking at least every 3 weeks, this is when mite populations really start to take off

For Powdered Sugar Roll:

  • Pour bees into a mason jar that has a mesh cap (#8 screening)
  • Add 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar
  • Roll about at least 30 seconds
  • let sit at least 1 minute, roll for 30 seconds more
  • shake out sugar/mites onto white paper plate or other surface
  • repeat until you see bee legs
  • spray with water to dissolve sugar to count mites
  • release bees

Alcohol wash (or windshield washer fluid):

  • Add 4 oz to jar with bees, or enough to cover the bees
  • cover and shake vigorously for several minutes
  • filter with screen, coffee filters, plastic varroa wash jar

What the numbers mean:

Take the number of mites collected, divide by 3, times 2 = % mite infestation


#mites/3 X 2 =  %  mite infestation


<2% no treatment, 3+ watch and then treat

Brood Examination (Drone):

Uncap ~100 cells in purple eye stage

Assess general mite load to get % (mites per 100 pupae)


Sticky Boards for 3 days; divide by 3 for a 1 day average    Treatment threshold:

12 mites in Spring

23 mites in Fall